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In practice

CyberHire: removing employment barriers in the cybersecurity and IT sectors

Summary

San Diego, United States—

  • CyberHire San Diego focuses on removing barriers to employment in the cybersecurity and IT sectors by developing training programmes that respond to firms’ needs.

  • Through CyberHire, participants receive job-readiness support, subsidised cybersecurity certification required by the tech industry, and paid work opportunities with local companies through wage subsidies and job placement services.

  • The programme served 217 participants between 2021 and 2023 and contributed to improving diversity within the industry.

Published on the 03/05/2024

Geographic scaleCity / metropolitan area

KeywordsInclusion, Sector strategies, Women, Reskilling and upskilling

ThemeLocal employment and skills

CountryUnited States

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What are the objectives?

Since 2018, cybersecurity jobs have significantly increased across San Diego County. However, only two in three advertised jobs are being filled. Occupations in the sector are well-paid and do not always require a four-year degree, representing a career opportunity for low-income and low-qualified people.

CyberHire San Diego focuses on removing barriers to employment in the cybersecurity and IT sectors. Thanks to local and national labour market information, the programme, run by the San Diego Workforce Partnership, develops training programmes that respond to firms’ needs. The objectives of the programme are to support low-income, underrepresented and neurodiverse job seekers to find jobs in cybersecurity feeder roles (track 1) and to upskill workers to help them advance into mid-level roles in the cybersecurity sector (track 2).

How does it work in practice?

The eligibility criteria for CyberHire are being aged 18 and over, being a resident of San Diego County, having a diploma or a High School Equivalency (GDE) in ICT-related fields coming from a low-to-moderate income household or being an under-represented group in the tech sector.

Through CyberHire, participants receive job-readiness support, subsidised cybersecurity certification required by the tech industry, and paid work opportunities with local companies through wage subsidies and job placement services. The programme is structured in the following four steps:

  • Application: To access CyberHire training, interested people need to apply and share their resumé through an online platform.

  • Education: Selected participants take part in training provided by partner institutions, such as San Diego College of Continuing Education, MiraCosta College, the National Foundation for Autism Research, San Diego City College or National University.

  • Certification: After completion, participants receive a certification that can either help them start a career in IT or move from IT to cybersecurity. 

  • Placement:  CyberHire team ensure candidates are ready for employment in IT or cybersecurity by providing job-readiness support (e.g. by completing an individual employment plan) and access to paid internship opportunities and placement services.

What has been the impact?

With the initial investment of USD 1.5 million from the James Irvine Foundation, CyberHire served 217 participants between 2021 and 2023. Among participants around 130 received at least one industry recognised certification and about 80 individuals gained employment. The programme also contributed to improving diversity within the industry with 45% of placements going to individuals who identify as black or indigenous or people of colour and 36% to women.

What can other communities learn from this example?

CyberHire’s success builds on strong collaboration with local stakeholders and employers. As part of the programme, the Workforce Partnership works with Regional Economic Development Corporation (EDC) information technology and cybersecurity employers to identify workforce needs and suitable training providers, and with the San Diego Cyber Center of Excellence (CCOE) to connect CyberHire participants with employers. Employers engage through Talent Pipeline Management, a nationally recognised framework established by the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation and applied locally through the Advancing San Diego initiative. Through the TPM process, employers establish a skills-based criteria for their most in-demand roles, and talent providers demonstrate how their programmes satisfy these criteria to be designated as a “Preferred Provider” of cyber talent in San Diego.

OECD resources

OECD (2022), "Future-proofing adult learning systems in cities and regions: A policy manual for local governments", OECD Local Economic and Employment Development (LEED) Papers, No. 2022/03, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://doi.org/10.1787/11fa26cc-en.

OECD (2023). OECD City Network on Jobs and Skills, Digital Skills and Digital Inclusion Summary, https://www.oecd.org/cfe/leed/future-proofing-adult-learning-cities/City_network_Nov_23_Summary.pdf

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